A Step in Time: Memorial High School Presents 'Mary Poppins'
This year, Memorial High School Theater's big musical was Mary Poppins. Ms. Morgan, the director of theater arts at Memorial High School chose the musical last spring after their big musical of 2016: Kiss Me Kate. She had seen the stage production of Mary Poppins two years before and had read the script to make sure she had an appropriate cast for the show. Much preparation went into perfecting it before the production dates of Jan. 26-29 and Feb. 2-4.
Ms. Morgan cast the show in June of last school year, and then they got to work preparing. The first things they worked on were costuming and shopping, and then it was the scenery. Once school started the cast began singing and dancing twice a week. In December they started to gradually add more days to the practice schedule, until finally in January they were practicing on a six-day schedule.
There are many numbers in Mary Poppins in which dancing is required, specifically the popular "Step in Time" number in which all the actors tap on the roof as chimney sweeps. In order to prepare for the dance numbers the actors were required to have at least 10 outside hours of tap and jazz, and the two Markette (Memorial's dance team) teachers were brought in to help choreograph.
Ms. Morgan designed the costumes along with some theater parents. In order to do this, she set a color palette and than looked at many materials, patterns and pictures from past productions to blend with her own vision. When it came to makeup, the students were charge with doing their own since they would be doing it every night. They researched, drew up their ideas and taught others how to do it.
Seniors Regan Hicks and Daniel Fonseka were cast as Mary Poppins and Bert. Ms. Morgan selected them based on auditions, talent and ability to complete the job. One of the highlights of the musical was when they flew (attached to a wire, of course). Tons of meetings, emails and contract negotiations went into getting them to be able to fly. They learned in three days, and practiced daily.
In addition to the musical, there was also a market in the foyer selling many different trinkets, which all related to Mary Poppins. The art department was selling some of their students' paintings to go to two scholarship funds named for former students Dylan Davis and John Thompson. Art students’ work was on display and the musical also used the band and orchestra, under the direction of Danielle Pronkta, as the accompaniment. As Ms. Morgan said in her opening speech: "It was a good way to bring the fine arts department together."
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